What is TMJ Pain?
Anyone who has lived with chronic pain understands what a toll it can take on all aspects of life. TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain is no exception. The TMJ is located on each side of the head where the jaw meets the skull. It is used for eating, talking, and swallowing. TMJ pain can make even these basic functions difficult and uncomfortable. But you don’t have to live with debilitating TMJ pain—there are solutions.
TMJ Pain Treatment Options
Neuromodulators* injected in the jaw area may provide instant relief, as it relaxes the jaw muscles and prevents clenching. As neuromodulator injections are not permanent, the protocol is for the area to be retreated every 3 months to prevent reoccurring TMJ pain.
*Neuromodulators = Botox, Dysport, Xeomin
Dental splint or appliance
Non-reversible treatment methods, such as orthodontics or surgery, that permanently change your bite should be approached with caution. Often, temporary and less invasive options are more effective.
- Self-administered or gentle therapies, such as stretching or massaging the muscles around your jaw.
- Exercise and yoga can also help with the ability to handle pain.
- Moist heat or cold packs on the area may also temporarily reduce the discomfort.
- Mouth or bite guards, also called splints or appliances are used to treat teeth grinding, clenching, and TMJ disorders. The guard may lose its effectiveness over time, or when you stop wearing it. Permanent use of these items may not be recommended, therefore we advise patients to consult with their dentist or doctor.
Causes of TMJ Pain
Although the causes of TMJ pain can be complex and multi-faceted, a contributing factor can be dysfunction of the masseter muscles. These muscles are essential for movement of the jaw, but can become hypertrophic (enlarged), especially in patients who clench or grind their teeth. Evidence suggests that hypertrophic masseter muscles contribute to TMJ pain.
- Jaw joint pain
- Limited jaw opening
- Jaw locking open or shut
- Clicking, popping or grinding noises coming out of the jaw joints,
- Pain in the jaw joints or muscles